The WESC Foundation, The Specialist Centre for Visual Impairment has up to 100 blind and partially sighted learners aged between 4 and 24 years and over 250 staff and carers. After handling their catering in-house with a small catering team they put the contract out to tender and awarded Palmer & Howells the contract in June 2012.
“Palmer & Howells were successful in the tender as we felt that they would be the right fit culturally for the School and I am delighted to say that they are proving to be exactly that. Lorraine and her team really listen to what we want and work really well with our existing catering staff. For example, some of our learners are not only blind or partially sighted but have other disabilities or complex behavioural problems.
Lorraine and James have spent time understanding what these learners need in terms of catering, including one-to-one sessions with specific learners which makes a big difference. Our catering staff now receive far more support and are benefiting from more training and development opportunities from Palmer & Howells which is fantastic. Overall, working with Palmer & Howells has been a very positive experience so far and we look forward to the next 2 ½ years.”
Palmer & Howells have been catering at Elstree, an independent boarding and day school for boys aged 3-13 years and girls aged 3-8 in rural West Berkshire since 2009.
When asked why the school chose Palmer & Howells, Prue replied:
“The school had been in-house for a number of years (having tried contractors who didn’t live up to promises made) and the service had stagnated. Palmer & Howells were able to come in and advise the school on new service equipment, new menus, new working methods and a radically enhanced salad bar, which has been met with universal approval. Everyone associates contract caterers with higher overall costs particularly in relation to food, our experience is that Palmer & Howells have delivered the exact opposite of that – I am absolutely delighted with them.”
Wellington School is an independent day and boarding school for pupils up to the age of 18. Based 5 miles south of Taunton they have over 700 pupils and have been working with Palmer & Howells since 2010.
School Bursar Tim Williams joined the School just after the contract had started. As Tim explains Palmer & Howells was successful in the tender as they demonstrated how they could provide a personal touch to catering.
“Palmer & Howells stood out due to the attention they could give to the School. Having worked with larger companies before and often feeling unsatisfied with some elements of the service, it’s great to work with them and for the first time ever since I have been involved in overseeing catering at schools I haven’t received any complaints. Palmer & Howells offer a range of food at meal times and there is always the option for children to try something new if they are adventurous eaters or for those with plainer tastes then there is always a straightforward option. Pupil representatives also give feedback and menu ideas.”
Kings Hall School in Taunton has been working with Palmer & Howells for just over 13 years. The School caters for boys and girls aged between 3 to 13 years who are a mixture of day pupils and boarders.
“Palmer and Howells care about what they are doing, the service they provide, the food that they cook and menus that they offer. As a client we feel that they put our needs first, often in front of their business priorities and because they aren’t a big company they can be flexible and provide us with a ‘hands-on’ approach to catering which is what we need. What I enjoy about working with them is is that I always deal with the same two people who lead the company. Their commitment to client satisfaction is fantastic and I know that I can call upon them at short notice, such as if we need any additional support for functions or if my Catering Manager is away or off sick they help out. They help to create a fun environment too – on themed days the staff dress up and get involved in making the theme as lively as possible. They feel like an in-house catering team which is a credit to them and make everything hassle free. Palmer and Howells are a class act and I am delighted that they cater in King’s Hall School.”
We have been at the Downs since April 2000. We took over the contract from a national contractor and implemented our new financial controls and purchasing. The school thought the purchase invoices and supplier price lists were erroneous, as they were from exactly the same suppliers, supplying the same goods but at a much cheaper cost than under the previous regime.
“Catering and cleaning at a small school has its difficulties, not least with staffing. We have been very impressed to find Lorraine in the kitchen at 6.00am when our Catering Manager has been off ill. Not having to worry about this important area of school life is a great weight lifted off our shoulders. We are absolutely delighted with Kevin and Lorraine’s commitment to providing a top class catering and housekeeping service.”